- Associated Press - Sunday, July 27, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Old Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Bill Laimbeer and his New York Liberty tried to rough up the streaking Phoenix Mercury - with little success.

Brittney Griner scored 18 points and the Mercury tied the second-longest winning streak in WNBA history with their 15th straight victory, beating the Laimbeer-coached Liberty 78-63 on Saturday night.

“That ‘Bad Boy’ stuff, that’s dead in the water,” Mercury star Diani Taurasi said. “That doesn’t work anymore. That’s such ‘80s basketball, but I guess they keep it rolling like that.

“The physicality of the game is something we know is part of it. On occasion, we will look to get more physical, that’s fine, we just have to stick to what we are doing on a nightly basis.”

Griner got her first flagrant-1 foul in the fourth quarter. Phoenix responded with a 10-0 run to put the game away.

“They are going to try a lot of things, they are going to try to play physical, they are going to try and get in our heads, get us mad,” Griner said. “Keep a cool head and a hot game, keep playing like we did, just get the win.”

The Mercury (21-3) matched the 1998 Houston Comets with the victory and are three short of the league mark set by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001.

Griner also had eight rebounds and six blocks, and Taurasi added 15 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for Phoenix, which clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Tina Charles had 20 points and seven rebounds to lead New York (10-14). The Liberty had won three in a row and six of their last eight.

“We played out of our game, it wasn’t our normal game,” Laimbeer said. “We just, for whatever reason, quick shooting, taking shots we don’t normally shoot, going one-on-one, not getting any offense. In the second half, we ran our stuff, got good looks. They just didn’t go in.”

Phoenix had a 20-point lead and was ahead by at least seven after the first quarter.

The Mercury held Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter to 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting. New York got within nine going into the final period but missed its first three shots in the fourth.

“We were just missing shots, we were all playing against Griner, we know what she’s capable of and we know that they’re a long team,” Pondexter said.

Mercury coach Sandy Brondello echoed her stars’ comments about staying mentally focused.

“Once we got our composure, we limited them to one shot per possession helps us get out and then we can execute on offense,” Brondello said.

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